National Princess Week?

National Parks Week, National Library Week, Earth Day all worth recognizing, but National Princess Week? No way! Just what we need. The last week of April set aside to encourage princess dreams in girls. We laugh when a child says he or she wants to grow up to be a horse, but act like growing up to be a princess is a legitimate future goal.

Have you been to Disney lately? All the little and not so little girls dressed as princesses trying to enjoy a theme park in long dresses, with tiaras, and dress shoes. Not exactly the ideal apparel for Splash Mountain or the Grand Prix Raceway.

I hate to think that anyone falls for this marketing gimmick by Disney and Target and the Julie Andrews Collection. I guess Julie Andrews is a natural spokeswoman for National Princess Week since she provided instruction on princess how to in the Princess Diaries, (a movie I enjoyed) but she seems to have taken this whole princess thing a bit too seriously. Writing numerous princess books, a princess app, and a list of 30 Ways to Celebrate National Princess Week. I wish she’d go back to Mary Poppins or Maria Von Trapp, strong women instead of the helpless princess characters.

Pink, a great color. Princess, a great character. But there’s so much more than pink and princess. Why not a little more balance? We definitely don’t need a week to celebrate princesses.

It may be time to revisit Not Just a Girl. Jaime C. Moore’s photographs remind us there are so many alternatives to the idea of princess for girls.




The Most Beautiful Libraries

I can’t possibly be the only person who likes to visit libraries while on vacation. Not only are libraries wonderful places to sit down and relax to get out of the heat or cold, they’re great places to find out what’s going on in the area. They provide free wifi and you can see some beautiful architecture.

Over the years, we stopped in the Denver Public Library so I could work while on vacation.


In Taos, we got out of the heat and used wifi at the Taos Public Library.


In New York City Public Library we marveled at the architecture and furnishings in the library where Claudia and Jamie researched Michelangelo in The Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler.

nyc-public-libraryGenealogy drew us to the Family History Library in Salt Lake City.

family-history-library_1067502And we even go to the library on Sanibel Island. It’s the perfect place to read magazines and escape from the hottest part of the day or dodge a summer thunderstorm.

librarySo on National Library Week I’d like to share an article from the Huffington Post entitled 50 Most Beautiful Libraries in the World. Click here to see these amazing libraries and make a list of the ones you’d like to visit.


Show a Little Library Love

April is School Library Month and next week is National Library Week, the perfect time to show a little love to a library.


Each of you enjoyed the library media centers while you were in school. Learning to care for books, story time with felt boards, author studies, and weekly visits to check out books helped you develop a love of reading. Participation in library sponsored reading programs and competing on Book Bowl Teams created fond memories for each of you.

In addition, we spent many days at the Marion County Public Library checking out items, using research materials, and participating in events. We’d leave the building with bags of books providing hours of fun and then spend many more hours trying to locate all of the items we checked out. And despite the fact, we paid many fines for missing due dates, I never looked at “fines” as negative. We just made regular donations to the library…required donations, but ones put to good use.


One way you can show a little library love is to sign the Declaration for the Right to Libraries which recognizes ten benefits of libraries.

  1. Libraries empower  the individual.
  2. Libraries support literacy and life long learning.
  3. Libraries strengthen families.
  4. Libraries are the great equalizer.
  5. Libraries build communities.
  6. Libraries protect our right to know.
  7. Libraries strengthen our nation.
  8. Libraries advance research and scholarship.
  9. Libraries help us better understand each other.
  10. Libraries preserve our nation’s cultural heritage.

In celebration of National Library Week, library lovers are being asked to tweet about how the library has changed their life using the hashtags #Lives Change and #NLW14 or snap a library selfie to post. You can even win a Kindle Fire if you participate!

To be entered in the grand-prize drawing your text or photo library story must be posted to Twitter, Facebook or Flickr using the hashtags #LivesChange and #NLW14 or added to the @ your library story collection between 9:00 a.m. CDT Monday, April 14 and and noon CDT on Friday, April 18, 2014.

Visit the library or click here to sign the Declaration for the Rights to Libraries or post your story or photo or better yet, do all three! Show a little library love!




Congratulations, Captain Underpants!

captainunderpantsApril 14th – April 20th is celebrated as National Library Week and as part of the yearly celebration, the American Library Association announced on Monday the Top Ten List of Frequently Challenged Books for 2012. This year, Captain Underpants (the series) topped the list as the most challenged book. What an honor! It joins To Kill a Mockingbird, Kite Runner, Catcher in the Rye, and The Color Purple, other titles which perpetually appear on the annual list.

As an elementary teacher, Captain Underpants could be found in the desks of my students every week of the year. Students, especially boys,  in my class figured out how to circumvent the media center’s ability to reshelve the books so others could check them out by snatching them from the bin of returned books. Honestly, these are not my favorite books, and I tried to encourage students to read a variety of titles. I remember telling one student he couldn’t check out Captain Underpants every week. He’d need to alternate between one of Dav Pilkey’s books and something else. I suggested non-fiction books on snakes, cars, sports, and even books like Grossology and Animals Nobody Loves. However, I must admit, I was just relieved that he was reading and enjoying books.

One parent explains why many parents love Captain Underpants:

My boys used to hate reading until they started reading the “Captain Underpants” series. Those were the only books they read over and over laughing their little asses off . These books are meant for little boys with little boy humor. Farts, gas, diapers, boogers, and everything else that little boys love are in these books. Totally fun reading for my boys!

Thank you Dav Pilkey for the Captain Underpants’ series. Your books started by boys loving to read.

If you miss the Captain Underpants fun, maybe it’s time to head to the library and check out one of the books or better yet, check out one of the other books from the list of frequently challenged books. You’ll find some great titles! Happy reading!